|Short Night Farm|
100 acres divided equally between the cultivation of walnuts and row crops in Dunnigan, about 90 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
The McAravys' father farmed wheat, alfalafa, and tomatoes on the site of the current farm from 1936 until 1980. He sold his crops to local cooperatives. Jeff grew up on the family farm and spent several years working on large chemical-intensive farms.Both Jeff and Pat grew up on the family farm and Jeff spent several years working on large chemical-intensive farms. He attend UC Davis and was exposed to organic agriculture through the early organic pioneers of Yolo County. In 1980, Jeff brought his knowledge of less toxic growing practices back to his family’s farm and, with Pat, began farming organically. Jeff and Pat treat their land with the greatest respect, returning to it what they take.
The use of cover crops, specifically vetch and bell beans, benefit the soil by preventing moisture loss and erosion, adding humus, and fixing nitrogen into the soil. The addition of compost provides organic matter and nutrients and builds a healthy base for their crops. Fish fertilizers add nitrogen to the soil, and gypsum provides an additional source of calcium.
Because their plants and soil are in superior health, insect and disease outbreaks on Short Night Farm are unusual. The release of beneficial insects and the use of soap sprays treat small infestations when they occur. Sea kelp, used as a fertilizer, also has antifungal properties. The farm is also host to several bat and owl houses. Bats feed on most insects and do a good job of protecting the crops from harmful bugs. The owls prevent gophers and other small mammals from feeding on low-lying crops.
Trinity water from a nearby canal is the source for the farm's drip irrigation and surface sprinklers.
Pat and Jeff farm full time and employ three additional workers – one full time and two part-time – on the farm. Their sister, Linda, recently joined the business to help with marketing.
Short Night Farm has been certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) since 1983.